Protesters who gathered in the hopes of getting a Kosciusko County animal control officer fired are outraged that he was instead given a five day suspension without pay.
About 60 demonstrators held signs and marched around the Kosciusko County Courthouse Tuesday morning. They were at the courthouse square beginning at 8 a.m. and did not disperse until after 10:30 a.m.
During that time, the Kosciusko County Commissioners held their regularly scheduled meeting. County Attorney Chad Miner presented a report that detailed what occurred when Clase responded to a call of an injured animal at an Etna Green property in June.
The report says Clase was called out because the dog had growled at and attempted to bite a person. It goes on to describe the dog’s injuries as “an open sore” on its belly approximately six to eight inches in diameter that hung down two to three inches.
Officer Clase shot the dog without the owner present. The report says Clase felt the action was necessary to avoid prolonged suffering for the animal.
The owner found out the dog was put down when she called Clase later that day. The County Attorney says the dog’s owner asked “if she was in any trouble as a result of the condition the dog had been in”.
The Indiana State Police had previously reviewed the incident and found Jerry Clase did not commit a crime. Still, County Commissioners decided to issue the five day unpaid suspension as discipline for Clase as a result of the incident.
Demonstrators outside of the courthouse had a strong reaction in opposition to that decision, calling Officer Clase a “coward”.
Protest organizer Phaedra Chaney used a bullhorn to call out, “we’re not done– this is the tip of the iceberg!”
County Commissioners today also approved of a new animal control ordinance that gave further guidelines on how to handle encounters with injured animals. County Attorney Chad Miner says it will be a while before the new ordinance is put into action because they need to line up veterinarians that are able to assist with euthanasia should an animal be critically injured.
Here is a full copy of the updated animal control policy: Animal Control Policy